Obama, McCain sweep Potomac primaries: The AP wraps up tonight's contests:
Barack Obama powered past Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race for Democratic convention delegates Tuesday on a night of triumph sweetened with outsized primary victories in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
"Tonight we're on our way," Obama told cheering supporters in Madison, Wis. "But we know how much further we have to go," he added, celebrating eight straight victories over Clinton, the former first lady now struggling in a race she once commanded. ...
His victories were by large margins _ he was gaining about 75 percent of the vote in the nation's capital and nearly two-thirds in Virginia. In Maryland, he was winning close to 60 percent.
By contrast, Clinton was attempting to retool her campaign in the midst of a losing streak. Her deputy campaign manager resigned, the second high-level departure in as many days.
Campaigning in Texas, where she hopes to triumph on March 4, she said she was looking ahead, not back.
"I'm tested, I'm ready. Now let's make it happen," she said.
Republican front-runner John McCain won all three GOP primaries, adding to his insurmountable lead in delegates for the Republican nomination. He congratulated Mike Huckabee, his sole remaining major rival and a potential vice presidential running mate, then turned his focus on the Democrats.
"We know where either of their candidates will lead this country, and we dare not let them," he told supporters in Alexandria, Va. "They will paint a picture of the world in which America's mistakes are a greater threat to our security than the malevolent intentions of an enemy that despises us and our ideals."
Obama takes delegate lead from Clinton: Sen. Barack Obama took the lead in the race for Democratic delegates for the first time Tuesday, moving ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton, AP reports:
Obama got a boost from newly released results from Saturday's Washington state caucus. He extended it with wins Tuesday in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Obama won at least 65 delegates in Tuesday's primaries, with 70 still to be awarded. Clinton won at least 33. [...]
In the overall race for the nomination, Obama had 1,223, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. Clinton had 1,198.
It will take 2,025 delegates to secure the Democratic nomination.
Obama beats the Republicans: Devilstower at Daily Kos notes:
Barack Obama didn't just beat Hillary in Virginia. He didn't just get more votes than John McCain. In "red" Virginia, Obama got 142,000 more votes than all the Republicans put together. And that was with Hillary Clinton taking 100,000 more votes than John McCain.
No congratulations from Hillary: CNN reports:
For the second election night in a row, Hillary Clinton failed to acknowledge or congratulate Barack Obama after he won the day in dominating fashion.
On Tuesday in El Paso, hours after Virginia had been called for Obama, she stuck to her "Texas campaign kickoff" message and did not stray from an energetic, Lone Star-themed stump speech. She did mention Obama by name, only to chide his health care plan.
AP says Obama has delegate lead:
The Associated Press count of delegates showed Obama with 1,186. Clinton had 1,181, falling behind for the first time since the campaign began. Neither was close to the 2,025 needed to win the nomination.
See Obama and McCain's victory speeches.
Tonight Clinton held a rally in El Paso, Texas. From the New York Times' Liveblog:
Mrs. Clinton finally takes the microphone. Behind her, in the tight camera frame, are mostly young, Hispanic women. "I'm proud to be part of the El Paso, Texas family, starting right now," she declares.
"We're going to sweep across Texas in the next three weeks, bringing our message about what we need in America," she says, saying she's ready to be president on "day one" and can "turn the economy around," then gives the sound bite you'll see a lot tonight: "I'm tested, I'm ready, let's make it happen!"
How McCain won Virginia:
Wealthy Virginia Republicans as well as those worried about the economy carried John McCain to victory there....
As has been the case across the country, more Virginia Republican primary voters ranked the economy as their top concern than pointed to any other issue, and those voters broke for McCain by 13 percentage points.
McCain also did well with high-income voters in Virginia. Among those making over $100,000 a year -- a group that made up roughly 40 percent of the electorate -- McCain beat Huckabee by 26 points.
One out of every five Democratic primary voters were independent -- and those voters chose Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, 67 to 32 percent....Roughly one out of every five voters in the GOP primary were independent as well - but those voters did not vote for the party's likely nominee, John McCain, who had been expected to benefit from their support. Instead, independent voters backed Mike Huckabee over McCain, 43 to 34 percent, with Ron Paul pulling in 19 percent.
In 2000, 55 percent of Virginia GOP voters identified themselves as conservative. This year, those voters make up 68 percent of the electorate, and they are breaking for Huckabee over McCain by 16 percentage points.
McCain is drawing 35 percent of the conservative vote, a number that's only 8 points higher than what he drew in 2000.
Evangelicals also broke strongly for Huckabee, according to the AP:
Four in 10 Republican voters -- twice as many as in a 2000 primary -- said they were born again or evangelical Christians, and roughly 70 percent of them supported Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister.
CNN looks at African American turnout:
Early exit polls indicate the African-American turnout in Virginia and Maryland is about the same as it was in the 2004 Democratic primaries.
According to early exit polls, African-Americans made up 29 percent of voters in the Virginia Democratic primary and 37 percent in the Maryland Democratic primary.
AP reports that Obama gained widespread support across race and gender lines:
Obama was getting the backing of two-thirds of men and nearly six in 10 women, according to preliminary data from exit polls of voters conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks. In previous Democratic presidential primaries, Clinton -- the New York senator bidding to become the first female president -- has carried a slight majority of women while Obama has enjoyed support from slimmer majorities of males.
In another setback for Clinton, she and Obama were dividing whites about evenly, with Clinton leading among white women but Obama getting more than half the votes of white men, the early figures showed. She has long held a clear advantage among white voters.
FEB. 12 PRIMARY WINNERS LIST: